Arrested Garda Superintendent is ‘a victim of a bizarre and dark investigation’, says his solicitor
30th April 2021
A ‘bizarre’ investigation into alleged corruption against Garda Supt Eamon O’Neill marks a new ‘dark chapter’ in the history of An Garda Siochána, his lawyer said.
Solicitor Dan O’Gorman said the Minister for Justice must intervene as Supt O’Neill is ‘swinging in the wind’ and suffering while the DPP sits on a file sent nearly a year ago by gardaí.
Supt O’Neill, who served in the detective branch in Limerick for most of his career, retired recently.
He was suspended in May 2019 over an allegation that he corruptly passed on information to a detective colleague that his car was bugged by garda investigators.
“This whole investigation into Supt Eamon O’Neill marks a new dark chapter in An Garda Siochána and I am now calling on the Minister for Justice to intervene as untold suffering is being caused unnecessarily to Eamon O’Neill and his family,” Mr O’Gorman said yesterday.
“We have yet to see any evidence of the allegation made against him since his arrest and suspension for the force nearly two years go.
“A file was sent to the DPP almost a year ago and the delay in the DPP giving directions goes against public policy as stated by the courts.”
Mr O’Gorman said the garda investigation file has been with the DPP since July 2020.
“Since then there has been no outcome from DPP’s deliberations. In circumstances where there is one standalone alleged offence I fail to understand why the DPP’s directions have not been given and why there has been such a long delay,” he said.
“In the meantime, Eamon O’Neill and his family are left swinging in the wind.
“The policy of the DPP as stated is that directions are given within a month or two if not weeks of getting a garda file. It is even more baffling as in this case the person under investigation was a member of An Garda Siochána up to his recent retirement.
“It has been established by the judiciary that where a member of An Garda Siochána is being investigated and that being under a cloud or perceived to be under a cloud that due process is expedited.
“What is happening here goes against public policy as stated by the courts.”
Mr O’Gorman said An Garda Síochána’s actions in the investigation have been bizarre from the outset when armed gardaí entered Supt O’Neill’s home late at night and arrested the officer, who was was awakened in a room where he was asleep with his wife and young child.
Mr O’Gorman recalled that one of the most respected gardaí ever to serve in the Limerick garda division, Chief Supt Gerry Mahon, has gone on record to condemn the treatment of Supt O’Neill.
“When you have a figure of the stature of former Chief Supt Garry Mahon coming out and condemning the whole thing that says something,” the solicitor said.
“He saw at first hand what was being done to Eamon O’Neill. As they met in a Limerick cafe, an officer from the Limerick division came in and sat near them. Eamon O’Neill, according to Garry Mahon, ‘crumbled’ before his very eyes. Eamon had just been discharged from a psychiatric hospital where he had been for three months.
“His treatment has been appalling. I meet Eamon O’Neill on an ongoing basis and I can see the constant anguish over what is being done and he has visibly deteriorated. After all this time we have yet to see any evidence to support the corruption allegation.
“Eamon O’Neill has served the State well in being to the fore in successfully tackling the gangs who terrorised Limerick. No citizen should have to endure what is being done to him.
“All we want is justice. The time has arrived for the Minister for Justice to get involved.
“This whole thing has been bizarre from the outset and is take strange turns along the way.”
The Department of Justice declined to comment.